Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Long lives the Queen -- in her heart

Expat pleased to see such support for Royal Family in Manitoba

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When Jane Burpee moved from England to Canada 45 years ago, she brought a bit of Britain with her -- in her luggage and in her heart.

"It's just an ongoing admiration of the Royal Family."

Since the age of 9, she's been collecting scrapbooks about the Royal Family, starting with clippings about the globe-trotting Queen Elizabeth II that taught her geography.

This year, she's helping Winnipeggers celebrate the Queen's 60th anniversary on the throne.

"Some of my memorabilia is on display at Millennium Library," said Burpee, who lives in Cooks Creek.

"My mother was a great admirer of the present Queen and Queen Mother... That was sort of instilled in me, and very willingly."

The Royal Family were role models for generations of Burpee's family.

"My grandmother and the Queen Mother were so alike in their deportment and their posture and the way they wore their clothes."

Burpee admires Queen Elizabeth the most.

"She's really managed so many traumatic things in her life," said Burpee -- from the Second World War to the media blitz that hasn't stopped following the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales.

"I think she's handled them graciously, quite honestly. In the way the times have moved, she's moved... she's been very gracious and it can't be easy."

Burpee is a founder of the Bunch of Grapes, the singalong performers who were a mainstay at the Mug Pub British pavilion in the early years of Folklorama.

"There I learned so many people enjoyed the Royal Family," and not all are expat Brits.

"I'm very pleased by the fact that there's still a great following of the Royal Family and the monarchy," said Burpee.

There are close to 150 members of the Monarchist League of Canada in the province, said Daniel Whaley, the 20-year-old youth co-ordinator for Manitoba.

Surprisingly, about 20 are university students under the age of 25, said Whaley, who attends the University of Winnipeg.

He is fascinated by the history of the British monarchy, and he takes comfort in its traditions and stability. The Winnipeg-born man enjoys the "pomp and pageantry" and is looking forward to the May 25 Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration at the Radisson Downtown.

"It gives us a chance to celebrate and enjoy what we have instead of just taking it for granted," said Darcie von Axelstierna, another member of the Monarchist League in Manitoba.

Manitoba Lieutenant-Governor Philip Lee is hosting a Jubilee garden party May 26, which von Axelstierna plans to attend.

The Royal Manitoba Yacht Club is hosting a regatta for the Queen's Jubilee in June, a garden party is in the works for Assiniboine Park and von Axelstierna's relatives are planning a Jubilee church service near Riding Mountain National Park.

The Dominion Conference of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada is being held at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg from June 7 to 10.

"I think we're very lucky," said von Axelstierna. Americans have no monarchy after winning independence from Britain, but today they are the world's largest consumers of Royal Family memorabilia, she said.

"They have a very romanticized view of it," she said. But "it's part of our country's history."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2012 J14

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